Jerry Narace of Trinidad & Tobago, who has served as a Cabinet Minister handling the Health portfolio, held a wide range of authoritative and influential posts both in and outside the government, and served as an Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary at Large , was recently in India when he and his wife visited Allahabad during the Maha Kumbh. NRI Achievers met up with him, to find out more about him and learn of his experiences in India.
Jerry Narace is a man of many achievements, having played a very active role both in the economic as well as political domains of Trinidad & Tobago. He entered the annals of high achievers in T&T from the private sector, where he had been involved in the Retail, Banking & Insurance sectors. As an independent businessman and entrepreneur deeply committed to improving the quality of life in society, he has been instrumental in building several successful enterprises and the development of numerous CBOs. His political affiliation is with the People’s National Movement (PNM) of Trinidad and Tobago, as part of which he has had a pivotal role to play in more than ten elections, and has also served as a consultant to several Governments in the region.
Jerry Narace and his wife, herself a successful entrepreneur in her own right, were both in India for the Maha Kumbh. Both of them being people of Indian origin, we spoke to them and bring you here quick glimpses on their experiences in India.
“My father was born in Allahabad in 1914, in a place called Pratapgarh there. And from what we do know, he reached Trinidad & Tobago at a rather tender young age. For us, his children, he was always a kingsize personality as we remember. He was also a very healthy,strong person both physically and in his determination to succeed and give us, his family, a good life. He was also a very ambitious, hard working person, who had all the qualities of a leader, and he did do pretty well, given his circumstances and the constraints of his time. But in retrospect, the one thing that had always bothered me, was the fact that he never really knew about what happened to his family, his mother. I think he was always somewhat sad about the fact that he never really go to know what happened to them. He never did speak much about it, even to my mother, but did quite well though, rather very well. Sure he must have had dreams, and some were fulfilled, some I suppose did not.
So I have always felt that it would all be incomplete if I didn’t fulfill my father’s dreams. “My wife, she is also of Indian origin, from Basti in UP, and she is
very involved in Indian culture. So when she convinced me this time round to travel to India and attend the Maha Kumbh Mela in Allahabad, the notion came into my head, and I said, why not ? Now is as good a time than any. So here we are, we have come to India, we visited Allahabad. A few months ago, though, while we were preparing for this trip, I had come across this book, which spoke about my father and mother, documented some parts of their life and times.
You see, we as children did not interact too much with our father, as he was not one to be questioned too much. If he wanted to tell us something, he would, but that was that. For he was so busy doing a hundred things … So when I read through this book, I went to the Indian mission and met the High commissioner there, Naveen Mishra. He put me in touch with a few people, a genealogist in T&T and one in India. So with their help, I began piecing the information together, and building up my genealogical tree, and tracing my roots back to India, Allahabad and Pratpgarh.
Once here in Allahabad, while we were here for the Maha Kumbh, we actually went to the village, it was a really very nice community that we came in touch with, and you know, it was wonderful, to be able to reconnect with my father’s ancestral village and its present day villagers.
It was tremendous. Even more interesting was the village of Todapur, clean, assertive and ambitious people, lots of children in the streets, people productively engaged in work. This first visit to India, apropos, is not going to my last, however.
I now plan to come here with my children and acquaint them to their roots. And maybe do a more elaborate documentation project, on what transpired with Shri Pitinaresh’s (my father’s) family.